The PJ Tatler

Whether you're 14, 19 or 90, you can defend your home against armed intruders

For the past few days, the internet has been buzzing about two amazing self-defense stories, each involving young people.  The first to hit the wires was the story of 19-year old Sarah McKinley.

On Christmas Day, McKinley’s 58-year old husband died of cancer, leaving her alone with their three month old baby.  When two knife-wielding men attempted to break into her home to steal her late husband’s painkillers, McKinley grabbed her guns, called 911, and asked for help.  In a polite colloquy with the 911 operator, McKinley asked if it was okay to shoot the intruders if law enforcement, which was still several minutes away, didn’t arrive in time.  The operator said McKinley, who fortunately lives in a state giving homeowners the right to armed self-defense, could do what she needed to do to protect her baby.  McKinley did just that:

‘When I saw him come in, I saw something flash in his hand. I told 911 I was going to shoot and I did. And he just fell over the couch.

‘When someone breaks into your house with a deadly weapon, they aren’t here for anything good,’ she said, holding baby Justin on her lap.


She said that though the shooting was justified, it was by no means an easy decision to make.

‘It was either going to be him or my son. And it wasn’t going to be my son,’ she said. She added: ‘There’s nothing more dangerous than a woman with a child.’

As if that story of true grit (not the Hollywood kind, but the true kind) wasn’t enough, it turned out that shortly before, a 14-year old boy killed one of four armed home intruders.  He too engaged in a polite conversation with a 911 operator who could only promise that local law enforcement was on the way:

In the North Carolina incident, police said the 14-year-old and his sister were at home in the rural town of Henderson when four men tried to break into the house.


Investigators released a 911 call with the teen calmly describing how he shot the intruder.

In the call, the teen, says: ‘I just shot the man. He came around the corner. I shot him. He broke the whole glass out (of the back door).’

He continues: ‘I don’t know how many it was (who broke in). Just one came around the corner. I got one more in the chamber. I’m going to shoot again,’ the boy said.

‘Do not, while I’m on the phone, do not fire that firearm, OK?’ the dispatcher says

‘What if another one comes in the house, ma’am?’ he asked.

‘Let me know, OK, if you see anybody. I will let you know (when a deputy gets to the house),’ the dispatcher responded.

As the boy and his sister waited for deputies to arrive, he told the dispatcher that he was ‘perfectly fine’, but his sister was ‘really shaken up’.

I’m now happy to report that the young’uns aren’t the only ones taking to arms to defend themselves against home intruders.  In Marin County (yes, blue, blue Marin County), a 90-year old man ended up in a shoot-out with a career criminal who broke into his home and held him at gunpoint.  Unlike the teens, who fortunately did not suffer any physical injuries, Jay Leone took a gunshot to the face.  He still was in better shape, though, than 30-year old Samuel Joseph Cutrufelli, who is now the proud owner of three new bullet holes in his body:

The shooting occurred at about 10:45 a.m. Wednesday at Leone’s two-story home at 300 Via La Cumbre. Police said Cutrufelli entered Leone’s home, detained him at gunpoint and searched the residence for property.

Leone, a former member of the Marin County sheriff’s air patrol, was able to get one of several guns in his home and shot the suspect. The suspect shot Leone and fled in a car, police said.

Leone called 911 from his house, and Cutrufelli called 911 after stopping his car just over the San Rafael border. Cutrufelli said he had shot himself and needed medical attention, police said.


Cutrufelli’s criminal history in Marin includes a 2001 attempted murder charge for stabbing a pedestrian numerous times during a confrontation in Novato. He pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to a six-year prison term.

Burglars beware.  Americans are armed and they’re not afraid to defend themselves and their homes.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member